Monami Maulik, DRUM, (347) 385-9113
Hannah Weinstock, Queens Community House, (917) 539-2885
In August 2007, the Department of Homeland Security announced new regulations that will unjustly punish millions of immigrants across the country and break apart many families in the years to come. These laws were passed without any legislative approval and public discussion yet will impact the lives of immigrants and citizens alike.
As a broad alliance of community, faith-based, and legal organizations, we stand in strong opposition to the Department of Homeland Security's recent alarming increase in conducting immigration raids across the country which have already led to the breaking up of thousands of families. We have not been safe from this racist targeting of communities here in New York City, which many see as friendly to immigrants in comparison to other localities.
Since August, community and legal organizations have reported a jump in the number of home raids where armed Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents aggressively seeks out immigrants with orders of deportation or minor criminal records by storming into homes without properly issued warrants, interrogating people, conducting unauthorized searches and taking parents away from frightened children. At the same time they arrest individuals who were not part of their targets but who happen to be present in the home. There is no doubt that these raids severely violate the privacy and civil rights of families, leading to break-ups of families that impact the local and broader communities of which the families were a part.
On the afternoon of Sunday October 14th, ICE conducted raids along Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens arresting over 100 immigrants, including many innocent by-standers, during a criminal investigation led by the NYPD of businesses making false identifications. One witness, who does not wish to be identified, told the story of the pick-up of several day laborers at 69th St. and Roosevelt Avenue, “men in FBI and ICE jackets showed us photos of the people they were looking for and asked us if we knew them. When people answered that they didn’t, they were asked to show identification. Those that didn’t have any were taken in.” Several other witnesses confirmed this account. Another witness spoke of passerbys being picked up at 82nd and Roosevelt, “I saw agents with green jackets that said ICE on them coming out of cars that were not police cars. They arrested a couple that was just walking by, as well as a couple leaving a bank. Everyone started running and hiding in the different stores and restaurants.” While newspapers and witnesses claim that “over 100” people were arrested, only 41 were charged with document falsification. In fact, ICE itself admits to arresting by-standers and calls them "collateral arrests". To our community, "criminal investigation" becomes a pretext for ICE to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants under circumstances that clearly demonstrate racial profiling.
As a coalition of immigrant and citizen groups, we express strong disapproval of the Department of Homeland Security's increasingly aggressive arrests of immigrants. We denounce the behavior of ICE officials in their callous disregard for civil and basic human rights. We urge the New York Police Department not to cooperate or collaborate with ICE. Finally, we call on our elected officials to stand up for New Yorkers, nearly half of whom come from immigrant families.
The No-Raids Network includes the undersigned organizations:
- American Friends Service Committee- Immigrant Rights Program, NY Metro Region
- Center for Constitutional Rights
- DRUM - Desis Rising Up and Moving
- Families for Freedom
- Humanist Center of Queens
- Immigrant Justice Solidarity Project
- Immigration Equality
- Jews for Racial and Economic Justice
- New York New Sanctuary Coalition.
- NICE (New Immigrant Community Empowerment)
- NY Solidarity
- NYCPP (New York Civic Participation Project)
- Queens Community House
- Queers for Economic Justice
- South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow (SAALT)
- VAMOS Unidos
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.